Labor of Love

It’s Labor Day here in the Philippines and its a holiday.

I’ve conceptualize this piece after  my supervisor suggested that what if I work overseas.

Back when I was in college, I never though of working abroad. My thinking was (I’ve said this a couple of times already) our government paid for my education for 14 years, well I mean subsidized to make me what I am today: a Professional. So I was determined to payback them by working in government offices. 

For almost three years, I’ve been in two offices: the LGU and the DENR and worked as a contractual employee. The salary rangers from 4 to 5 digit a month enough to sustain myself and give some to my family but sometimes not enough so I have to ask my parents and pay them back after. At some point I applied several works abroad to  have a greener pasture.

Some said they were not well compensated for the work they have served, or some other work related issues but it didn’t stop me. Yes I may have complained at some point but I never stopped. Maybe because of my parents who are both government employees. Papa and Mama endured pain and tiredness to sustain our needs and to serve the people. I’ve seen how they worked very hard to live up to the mission, vision and goals of their respective offices.

Like them, I want to serve not the government but the people. Yes yes the people is the government and the government is the people. I mean the people in the communities, those people who I met along the way while I work. Those who struggle to send their children to school, to place food on their tables, to buy new clothes or the dream to take some vacation to other places they see in the media.

Let me tell you a story that I will never forget. I went to Mama’s school (can I say on the mountains) and was in her room while she was teaching. My four eyes was very observant and to see these children makes my heart melt that it will pour out my eyes. Nevertheless she started teaching them to read and at the middle of the discussion she popped a question “Alam nyo ba ang beef?” (Do you know what is beef?). An eager student raised his hand and spoke “Lucky Me” (a brand name of a noodle sold in the country). Me and my Mama looked in each other’s eyes and he looked at me, no I have not laughed at it. Mama explained him and to others what is beef. Maybe they were too little to know that.

I have been in remote places and saw its state and made me realize that I am not just working for the money but also for the people, a trait maybe acquired from my parents. Yes I have issues and insecurities towards work, heard other that I should seek other jobs, planned to go abroad, nearly quit and to tell you I’m still here making myself strong, making a difference in my own little way. I even told myself that “why do dedicated employees, doing their job right and sometimes exceeds their duties are still at the bottom of the chain” (this is true to all government offices). Why we the next generation of public servers are discouraged not only by the people but also by the system? This are strong and sharp words to tell but it’s the truth and we can’t argue with that.

I do give credits to Overseas Filipino Workers for they have been away for their families to give them better lives. Fighting homesickness, adapting different cultures and doing multiple jobs just to give what their family needs and wants. Kudos also to blue-collar employees that endure hardships in their work and in the rightful time you will be acknowledged by your profession. And to all who performs their job right and sometimes way beyond their duties to serve the people, I salute you!

Working for me is not all about the money I get but rather what I have done to changed something. It’s all about LOVE, the LABOR of LOVE.

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